Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How fasting fuels spiritual growth, charity

Lent is just one week away. I've spoken with lots of people who say they just don't "get" the need for fasting. Check out my latest OSV story and find out why fasting is so important to our faith tradition in general and to Lent in particular.

By Mary DeTurris Poust

Fasting and abstinence were once staples of Catholic life. There was a time not so long ago when you could spot Catholics in a restaurant simply by looking at what was on their plates on a Wednesday or Friday.

But with changes in Church rules and individual mindsets, fasting slowly began to fall out of fashion. Today, in popular Catholic culture at least, fasting is often considered a quaint practice of days gone by, something that pales in comparison to doing charitable works.

And yet fasting is one of the three pillars of Lent, equal to prayer and almsgiving in the trilogy of practices for the season. In fact, fasting is woven into the fabric of many of the world’s religions — Judaism, Islam, Buddhism — in one fashion or another. Continue reading...

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